Press freedom suffered 'dramatic deterioration' amid pandemic: watchdog

Press freedom suffered 'dramatic deterioration' amid pandemic: watchdog
© getty: A woman wears a protective mask walk in the street as man sit in the roadside on January 31, 2020 in Wuhan, China.

Press freedom has suffered a "dramatic deterioration" amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report from Reporters Without Borders.

The watchdog released its 2021 World Press Freedom Index, which found that journalism was “completely or partly blocked” in 73 percent of the 180 countries that its organization ranked.

“The Index data reflect a dramatic deterioration in people's access to information and an increase in obstacles to news coverage,” the watchdog said. “The coronavirus pandemic has been used as grounds to block journalists’ access to information sources and reporting in the field.”

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The group found that journalism was blocked or seriously impeded in 73 countries, while constrained in 59 others.

The watchdog found that it became harder to investigate and report sensitive stories, particularly in Asia, the Middle East and Europe.

Among the countries, Noway was ranked first for the fifth year in a row for press freedom, while Finland was marked second and Sweden was in third place.

The report also found that China’s suppression of journalists might have been a contributing factor to the spread of the pandemic.

Reporters Without Borders also found a drop in public trust in journalism. Fifty-nine percent of people it surveyed in 28 countries said that reporters deliberately try to “mislead the public by reporting information they know to be false.”